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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

U.S. NGO alliance urges G20 leaders to support robust civil society

As world leaders gather this week in Russia for the G20 summit, U.S. NGO alliance InterAction urges them to maintaining a strong civil society within their countries.

"A vibrant and active civil society must be free and independent from government control and intimidation," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations. "Critiquing and disagreeing with governments is not a crime, and dissent often encourages greater accountability and more effective policies."

All eyes are on the Russian government as host of this year's G20. It is essential that the Russian government foster an operating environment that allows civil society the freedom and security to voice dissent, Worthington said.

The G8 and G20 have consistently stressed the importance of accountability, and InterAction urges the Russian government to maintain this legacy as host of this year's G20. NGOs and civil society must have the space to hold leaders accountable to the pledges made at previous G8 and G20 summits, the alliance said.

InterAction appreciates the creation of the C20 by Russia and the support that the government has provided to the seven working groups, which were co-chaired by Russian and international organizations. This commitment must extend beyond international summits; recent actions taken by the Russian government to restrict the freedom of association, expression and assembly of local civil society are harmful.

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 180 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org.

SOURCE InterAction

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